Matters of Faith: Drunk with Wine or Filled with The Spirit

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

Ephesians 5: 15-21 NKJV

For those who are filled with the Spirit, they are in the way of the wise. They walk circumspectly, cautiously, sensitively, being watchful as one who walks through a patch of thorns. They capitalize on every opportunity they encounter, wisely using their God-given gift of time. Those who are filled with the Spirit understand the will of the Lord and conducts themselves accordingly.

Being filled with the Spirit is essential. When the Bible says be filled, it means to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit so that it overflows in every aspect of life. The Spirit cannot be earned, bought, or achieved. The Spirit is a gift from God. The Holy Spirit is received when a person makes themselves available to receive the gift. It is impossible to be a true believer and not be filled with the Spirit.  

This pericope says there is another spirit, the one of drunkenness. It uses the word dissipation, which is another word for depravity, immorality, corruption, debauchery, dishonesty, wickedness…, sin! When one is filled with the spirit of drunkenness, they are counted among the unwise, doing the very opposite of those who are filled with the Spirit. Either spirit is yours for the choosing. You can decide whether to take on a spirit of foolishness or take on the Spirit of righteousness. The text tells us that there is a difference between the two.

The challenge that I have is not with those who have the spirit of drunkenness, but those who are not filled with the Spirit. If you know better and do not do better, it is better that you never knew. According to the text, all followers of Christ are to be filled with the Spirit. Two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. When we do what we have been commanded to do, we have no time to do what we should not be doing. Adrian Rogers makes the point, “I believe far more harm is done in our churches by people who are not Spirit-filled than by people who are drunks. Far more harm is done by people who are trying to do the work of God in their own flesh” (What Every Christian Ought to Know Day By Day, p. 259).  

When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, we are also led by verses 19-20 to “Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (ETR)

Drunk with wine or filled with the Spirit, the choice is yours.  

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator/host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448) and author of Matters of Faith: The Book, an eBook available at

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